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As social distancing restrictions are relaxed throughout the U.S., feelings of liberation are conflicting with concerns of a possible second surge in coronavirus cases.
An immensely disrupted economy is an additional factor; over 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the pandemic's emergence. Many are eager to restore some semblance of normal life, but most are also wary of potentially triggering another wave of the outbreak.
Most reporting on all sides reflects the inevitability of reopening in some capacity. Many left-rated voices have expressed concern over potentially higher death tolls and public safety lapses; right-rated voices are generally supporting broader reopenings and framing the future with more optimism.
Other big news this week: Joe Biden denied an allegation lthat he sexually assaulted former Senate staffer Tara Reade in 1993; a leaked FEMA document showing higher-than-expected COVID-19 death projections sparked concern and pushback from the White House; and a Homeland Security report concluded that China "intentionally concealed the severity" of the coronavirus pandemic so it could stockpile medical supplies.
More from AllSides: In the face of the COVID-19 infodemic, AllSides created a Facts and Fact Checking portal, where you can see the latest fact checks on a variety of topics and issues.
Make it through this pandemic with your health and sanity intact. Get the latest COVID-19 coronavirus data, balanced news, information on staying healthy and more.
Snippets from the Left
"They were not exactly rushing to embrace their new-found freedom in Liberty, Missouri. Even as the state endured its largest increase in coronavirus cases on Monday, Missouri’s Republican governor, Mike Parson, decided to press ahead with his plan to allow businesses to reopen and to lift restrictions on social gatherings imposed as the pandemic crept closer six weeks ago. But for all the fury of gun-toting protests against lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in some parts of America, only a smattering of Liberty’s shops and restaurants opened their doors."
"While many people were pleased to see the restrictions eased, some also harbored doubts about whether it might lead to a resurgence of Covid-19, with Missouri recording more than 8,700 confirmed cases and a total of 358 deaths by Monday, and projections that 3,000 people a day could be dying across the US in a month."
"As President Trump pushes for businesses to reopen — even though the US coronavirus outbreak is not under control — his response to two new models indicating that cases and deaths will increase in the coming weeks is to mischaracterize them. The models are grim, with one projecting 135,000 Americans will die by early August, and the other estimating the US will see 3,000 daily deaths by June 1. Grilled about them on Tuesday by reporters ahead of his departure for a trip to Arizona, Trump dismissed them, falsely claiming they are based on “no mitigation,” as in, if we did nothing."
"Trump’s comments indicate that he thinks workers being diligent about washing their hands and trying to keep distance from other people will be sufficient to slow the spread of the virus, but experts say that’s not the case. Stay-at-home orders and the shutdown of most businesses haven’t so far been sufficient to bend the trajectory of new cases down, they’ve merely gotten the country to a relative plateau in new cases and deaths. This suggests the number of new cases and deaths will likely get worse as things reopen."
Washington Post (opinion)
"More than 40 states have announced plans to lift restrictions, even though only a handful have met the minimum criteria for reopening as outlined by the White House coronavirus task force. The consequences of this are all too predictable, because the science around covid-19 has not changed: Without a vaccine or cure, the only thing keeping the disease in check has been keeping people separated from one another. Once social distancing is relaxed, covid-19 will again spread with explosive speed."
"Residents in reopening states should follow the same public health guidance as when they were under shelter-in-place orders: Stay six feet away from people. Wash your hands frequently. Wipe down surfaces that others are touching. If you must return to work, be an advocate for your health: Ask your employer what practices are being put into place to protect workers and customers. Inquire about telecommuting, staggered shifts and other possibilities. Risk is cumulative: The more people you have contact with, the higher your risk of contracting the virus. Do your best to continue to limit your interactions with people outside of work.
Snippets from the Right
"Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said on Wednesday that the American economy is "well-positioned" to rebound after the coronavirus-related economic shutdowns are lifted across the country...Scalia credited the United States' “incredible productive capacity” for winning two world wars, saying the same type of effort is helping the country turn the corner in slowing the spread of coronavirus. “Not just what we did at the front lines, but you know, Rosie the Riveter. What we did at home and the ingenuity, the creativity, the energy in the private sector," Scalia said."
"Since the virus outbreak gained a foothold in the U.S. about two months ago, forcing a majority of states to shutter nonessential businesses and direct residents to stay at home, 30 million Americans have filed for first-time jobless benefits. Job losses were concentrated heavily in the leisure and hospitality industry, as bars and restaurants were forced to close. In total, the sector saw 8.6 million job losses, even as businesses tried to compensate with delivery and takeout options. Scalia said that “somewhere near 90 percent of people who have gone on unemployment said that they expect to return to their jobs.”"
"The beach is no bogeyman when beachgoers follow social distancing guidelines. Indeed, it might even be safer than a busy urban sidewalk, where individuals don't always have the luxury of staying six feet apart. Of course, even sidewalks are not necessarily that high of a risk. According to Daniel Kuritzkes, the chief of the infectious disease division at Brigham and Women's Hospital, "I don't think there's a real concern" about catching COVID-19 from walking past someone. Kuritzkers told Boston Magazine that such brief interactions—if you can even call them that—carry low risk for COVID-19 transmissions, though it's still recommended that everyone dons a face mask."
"Many parks were also shuttered when the coronavirus first hit the U.S. Recently, some states and localities have started gradually lightening those restrictions. Low-income residents probably stand to gain the most from that, since they often lack large, comfortable living spaces to retreat to when practically all other corners of society are blocked off from public use. While everybody benefits from getting outside, the advantages are perhaps even greater for those who have been forced to shelter in place in small, crowded homes."
New York Post (opinion)
"Start with the science. Data show almost all coronavirus fatalities are among the elderly and those with serious health problems. A staggering 68 percent of deaths in Pennsylvania have been nursing-home residents; in Rhode Island, it’s 70 percent. Shutting stores and restaurants didn’t save them. A lockdown targeted to protecting the highest-risk group, people 65 and over, instead of confining all age groups would slash deaths by half but at only half the economic cost of a total shutdown, according to new National Bureau of Economic Research findings."
"The shutdown’s goal wasn’t eradicating the virus. That’s not possible. The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, as well as other experts, predicts the virus will last another 18 months to two years, fading once most Americans have been exposed and developed immunity. As Colorado lifted its shutdown last week, the governor explained it’s a “balance” between keeping the virus “at a level that won’t overwhelm our hospital systems and allowing people to still try and earn a living.” Amen to that. The biggest divide in this country is about who’s getting a paycheck."
Snippets from the Center
"The Trump administration has shelved a document created by the nation’s top disease investigators with step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen restaurants and other public places during the still-raging coronavirus outbreak. The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen. It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official."
"The Trump administration has been closely controlling the release of guidance and information during the pandemic spurred by a new coronavirus that scientists are still trying to understand, with the president himself leading freewheeling daily briefings until last week. Traditionally, it’s been the CDC’s role to give the public and local officials guidance and science-based information during public health crises. During this one, however, the CDC has not had a regular, pandemic-related news briefing in nearly two months. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has been a member of the White House coronavirus task force, but largely absent from public appearances."
"As of early April, nearly half of child-care facilities nationwide had closed completely, and 17% remained open only for the children of essential workers, according to a survey of 5,000 child-care providers conducted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Schools in 40 states have been ordered to stay shut through the end of the school year...Even before the pandemic, day-care centers operated on thin margins, says Sarah Rittling, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, which advocates for stronger early-childhood education and is a member of the coalition. “Now, without money coming in, the industry is really on the brink,” she says."
"Millions of workers with young children can’t work without someone else supervising their children, in arrangements ranging from schools and day-care facilities to babysitters and grandparents. In 2019, more than 50 million U.S. workers had children under the age of 18; almost half that number had children under age 6, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."
"The governors of California and Texas, respectively, don’t agree on much – including how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic...Still, in recent weeks they have found themselves following similar paths as they reopen in stages and lead their states into the uncertainty of a post-lockdown, pre-vaccine world. Amid conflicting pressures from citizens, both governors are now pursuing a degree of reopening. Both find themselves balancing their own authority with some local autonomy. And both say data and science are driving their decisions, even at a time when a lot remains unknown about how to track and contain the COVID-19 disease."
"Mr. Abbott, a Republican, has prioritized a quick reopening of businesses while Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, is taking a more cautious approach. California has seen more coronavirus deaths than Texas and many other states. The reopening efforts could showcase the possibilities of regional flexibility within states, but also remain fraught with challenges. “I’m very worried about the states,” says G. William Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a centrist think tank in Washington, which recommends that the U.S. triple its coronavirus testing capacity in the next several weeks. “Most states have opened up too broadly, too quickly. But digging down below the aggregate state level, and looking at counties and localities, obviously you get a different picture.”"